Monday, November 29, 2010

Post-Nano Blues

I want my Mommy! Or, better yet, a new story!
I'm not quite so sure that congrats are in order, but I reached the 50K goal for Nanowrimo yesterday. Yay. Great. Meh.

I just asked a friend of mine if the following is a valid and natural response to reaching your goal - in a post-Nanowrimo moment, you look at what you've written, and want to curl up and cry like a baby. Sound familiar? If so, in my professional opinion (which counts for squat, by the way), this sounds like a case of post-nano blues. Oh, the horror, the horror!

Symptoms of post-nano blues

1) Sense of hopelessness and despair, as you consider why you ever bothered to sign up for Nanowrimo in the first place.
2) Dizzying headache, as you acknowledge that you may have wasted an entire month just spewing out new crap, whereas you could have edited your old crap, or read a book on how to avoid writing crap.
3) Maniacal, hysterical laughter, as you accept that this is truly the most craptastic crap you have ever written.

Possible Triggers of maniacal, hysterical laughter:
a) Precipitated by a recognition of yourself as some sort of feckless fool lulled into the idiotic hope that you could have created something intelligible, without any editing, over a 30-day period.
b) Prompted by the awful stench of your bad writing, with its passive voice and stilted characterization, the perusing of which has now driven you completely insane.
c) Derived from a feeling of blissful luck that your solitary efforts have escaped the attention and eyes of others, who might be inclined to laugh hysterically if they ever saw what you had written.

Cure for post-nano blues: 
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Open to suggestions!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Waiting for Inspiration: a Nanowrimo story

Greetings from the West Coast. It's 5:24 in the morning in San Francisco, and I am waiting for some inspiration to write my next scene in Burning Candle. Can you tell by that pic that it's not going well? Since I'm still on New York time, I have mainly succeeded at getting writing done in the morning (not like I'm sleeping properly or anything! - damn you, internal body clock!), but today, I've been staring at a blank page since 4:45am. I'm guessing updating this blog doesn't count towards my daily writing goal? Crap.

Whoever realized all those pep talks were necessary to keep people mtivated after the first week of Nanowrimo is a genius. I read them faithfully. Writing is such a solitary experience, but doing Nano has underscored the fact that I'm not alone in my efforts. Up until this week, I've been moving along pretty steadily, even with the demands of my full-time job and the San Francisco convention we're prepping for. I'm now at just over 29,000 words. The story is a VERY, VERY rough draft - do you hear me people? Long ways to go to a final draft. I can hear Laura Miller's sigh of relief that there will be one less crappy Nano novel sent out on December 1.

Anyway, for the first time, I wrote the entire synopsis of a manuscript, timed by the historical events of my heroine's life, and that task was very helpful, for the first two weeks or so. Not so much now. Should I be worried? Should I be canvasing the hotel looking for my inspiration, which has suddenly gone missing? Or, do I call it a morning, and crawl back into bed? Decisions, decisions....

For those of you doing Nano, stop by and leave a comment about how you're keeping motivated and meeting your writing goals (or not!) No, as I mentioned above, it will NOT count towards your daily word goal either, but you might provide some motivation and much-needed inspiration. Happy writing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dreck

Before I get to the subject at hand, let me say at the outset: Salon.com's Laura Miller is perfectly entitled to her own opinion. Just like I'm entitled to disagree with it 100% just about every time. That being said, I offer up Miller's latest piece on why Nanowrimo is a waste of time and energy - her words, not mine.

Few things piss me off more than elitists who pronounce their lofty opinions as if their viewpoints were the only ones that mattered. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I get from each one of Miller's posts on the craft of writing, something that reads like, "Only the innately talented need apply. Plebes, stop wasting your and more importantly my time. Admit that you suck! You are mucking up my perfect writing world with your dreck. Begone!" As Exhibit A, I remind you of Miller's thoughts on self-publishing.

About the only good thing I can say for Miller is that she gets people talking. I wish she would take a different tack or tone in her article, rather than castigating an exercise like Nanowrimo that allows would-be authors to try their hand at writing the novel they might not otherwise write, or helps newbie writers to hone their craft and attempt to meet deadlines, as they would be expected to by editors. More than anything, I wish Laura Miller would actually write a full-length novel again, rather than these scathing sound bites that she likes to deliver, so she can remember the level of perseverance and commitment it takes for a novelist to complete his or her work. It is something I do not believe anyone who has not written a book can understand. Then maybe, I could have a better appreciation of her opinions. For now, her thoughts are the dreck that's mucking up my perfect writing world. Begone, Laura Miller!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My first Nanowrimo

For every Nanowrimo participant, the inevitable moment must come, that moment where you think, "Oh God, why am I doing this?" It's a little disheartening when that particular moment hits you over the head on the first day of the National Novel Writing Month.

This is my first Nanowrimo; better late than never, right? I'm too quirky to be a follower, and too stubborn to allow anyone else to dictate my pace (or at least, not be incredibly resentful of it). It's certainly not as if I'm bored at work; convention season every November at my job makes that highly unlikely. It's also not as if I don't have other things to do. There's a birthday to celebrate, a trip to California wine country, and Thanksgiving dinner to plan. So, why have I decided to do this? I promise you it's not because I lost my mind. I lost a manuscript, my fourth, The Burning Candle, which I had finished this summer. It's the story of Isabel de Vermandois, a medieval countess, wife and mistress to two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman earls in England. She was a remarkable woman, one whom I researched for a year before writing about her. Two of my dear friends managed to salvage four of the later chapters for me. That leaves twenty-six chapters to go.

There's nothing like having to start over again to make you question whether writing is your life or a hobby. As I began chapter one of this new story today, I wondered whether I could do Isabel's life justice. All the familiar worries and fears are there, but lots of hope also. I hope it will be a better story than the first draft, but mostly, I'm striving just to keep at it during the month. It would be nice to reach that 50,000-word mark too. Nanowrimo must mean something different to all the writers who undertake the challenge. For me, it's a fresh start, where I get to pick up the pieces of a story I loved and lost, and begin again. Wish me luck.

My nano name is lyarde11751. Are you doing Nanowrimo too? Good luck in reaching the 50,000-word count!

Ebook Release Day! Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree is here!

After a year and a half, the ebook version of the novel is out. It's been like giving birth to a really big baby, who had some troubles...